NFTs and the birth of a new generation of marginalized capitalists
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November 18th, 2021
Painting by Johan Andersson, OpenSea Listing by Laurence Fuller
Painting by Johan Andersson, OpenSea Listing by Laurence Fuller

FYI: This is just a quick note, but honestly deserves a longer dialogue.

There's a lot of contention around the hype, purpose, and future potential of NFTs.

Whether it be around bubble speculation or meme economy shilling, I think the unmistakable thing is the rally of normies getting involved in financial markets at a rate unprecedented.

Even for myself, diving deeper into the market in just the past few months, I've learned more about financial literacy, and market dynamics than I ever did during my business school studies.

You could point to Robinhood and fractionalize investing as the key unlock, but I'd argue that those examples are just the very tip of the iceberg. They expose you to the world from an institutionalized lens, building on the back of a system as they've known it.

NFTs, on the other hand, teach you finance in a completely different way that is digestible even for a five year old and exists within a system meant for fairness and participation.

The main reason is that everything is abstracted to the level of a tangible thing, but with a sticker on the back that says “Belongs To X, Y, & Z.”

Dabbling into the world, you are forced to learn about how to move money (fiat currency into digital), do research (read macro and micro trends to comb down to what you should invest into), do due diligence (dig into the creator's history and the project's community engagement), track the market (monitor trading activity), acquire the thing, decide on an exit strategy, and then begin your shilling roadshow.

This level of engagement (or opportunity to do so) is not at all matched by stock trading. And the magic, more often than not, is that are intrinsically pulled in to be involved.

And on the opposite end from the creator's POV, you learn about what it's like to launch, IPO, and operate a pseudo-company of sorts just by minting something.

And along the way, the narrative of cutting out the financial middlemen and rent-seekers becomes all the more clear and compelling.

Now you start to get it...

For me, I think the most enlightening through-line of this all is the unlock of financial education for those who are traditionally marginalized and wrapping them into a common subculture that is all their own.

An indirect comparison is /r/WallStreetBets and what it has done for its community of investors that run the entire gamut of trading aptitude.

But, what I mean more so are all the people who would never even had access to this level of inner workings of a complex financial system in the first place. I'm talking BIPOC, LGBTQ+, immigrants, foreigners, young folks, old folks, blue-collar workers, you name it.

Obviously, at the current level of user experience in most dApp projects, this isn't necessarily attainable for everyone yet. But, the time will come and what's even more exciting is that there's an appetite for it.

However, the question that remains is whether or not the system will become pay-to-play or continue to maintain accessible participation for all. We already see some early signs of this in the art market…

Still, I hope that builders and users themselves approach with an acknowledgment that more participation equals more value created for all — such is the thesis of decentralization itself.

Whether it's a temporary craze or not, I'm still in awe of the magic taking place before our eyes.

What we’re seeing in real-time is the breaking of a traditionally discriminatory system, an opportunity for a more level playing field, and the possibility for new generational wealth creation that we've never seen before.

I'm excited for my people and my people's people.

To the moon we go.

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